It seems there is always a new scam to watch out for. Federal and State governments attempt to keep up with warnings on multiple websites just to keep honest Americans in the loop and a step or two ahead of the scammers. The real estate market is not immune to these scam attempts. In addition, the lucrative nature of real estate makes criminals even more likely to strike if possible.
Take some time to learn the tricks and strategies of these scammers and beware of their schemes to cheat you out of your hard-earned money. We want to give you a few warnings about these scams in the Greenville area to help home buyers and sellers avoid any loss. Here are three scams to be aware of.
Down Payment Scams
The real estate industry has not kept up as well with online security as have banks and other financial institutions. Some real estate agents use free email accounts like Gmail or Yahoo to communicate with their clients. This can lead to scammers mimicking Gmail addresses and then asking for personal information or worse, down payments. Make sure you know your agent’s email address and double-check any suspicious sounding emails asking for personal banking information. Agents should never be asking for this information in the first place. Also, make sure you are aware of the closing or settlement phase of real estate transactions. Your agent or lawyer should be able to give you information on this. Check with them about anything that seems amiss or different from their description of the process. Once you mistakenly pay a down payment or give banking information away, it can be difficult to retrieve your money. Remember to always bring a certified check with you to closing that you can physically hand to the title company, they have safeguards in place to help you from being scammed.
Greenville home sellers should beware of offers that seem too good to be true. If you get an offer on your property in Greenville that is amazing and more than you are asking for, be sure to consult your agent or lawyer. There is a scam where buyers offer an incredible amount of money, get the sellers to take the house off-market and get them all excited about the prospect of selling. Before long, the buyer begins to struggle with financing and after a period begins to lowball their offer. The disappointed seller has lost time and has no desire to relist the house and start over with showings etc. so they accept the much lower offer. This was the scammer’s plan all along.
Make sure to scrutinize your potential buyer carefully. Realtors can help you do this. If it is too good to be true, it just maybe. Ask questions of the buyers such as “what do you do for work”, or look them up on a platform like Linkedin to see if they currently are employed. Doing a little social media digging can often alleviate headaches down the road when the buyer backs out last minute on a property. Professional home buyers such as Upstate Home Buyers should always be able to substantiate their offer and never will change their offer.
Home Title Fraud
Greenville area homeowners can be victims of this crime. Scammers use various nefarious technics to steal your information. With the right information, they can create a fraudulent title to your home. Using this title and other stolen personal information they can secure a loan based on the equity in your home. When you go to sell, you find out that your house has been borrowed against. Older borrowers can be easier prey for this scam as they may not know how to look up their title information online when something seems amiss.
We encourage you to invest in title insurance from a good title company in Greenville. Twin Oaks Title in Greenville and other reputable title companies sell this type of insurance. Typically, it is part of the closing process, but it is a good idea to make sure you have it. Of course, you should always be careful about guarding personal information that could be stolen and used to steal your identity.
These scams are just a few of those that can cause problems for Greenville home sellers and buyers. We encourage you to always do your homework and check out the reputations of anyone you do business with in a real estate transaction. From movers, to lawyers, to real estate agents, check their online reputation. Check with the Greenville Better Business Bureau, and even Google and Yelp reviews.
While we can not cover all the possible scams, we can encourage you to be aware and ask for help if you are suspicious. At Upstate Home Buyers, we promise to be transparent and honest with our customers. If you have a property and would be interested in a quick cash offer that does not require repairs, inspection, or remodeling, give us a call. We can buy houses quickly in Greenville and for cash.
We provide you a cash offer with no pressure. We will explain our numbers and are not afraid of scrutiny. Feel free to check us out online. We can provide references as well. Contact us for a friendly assessment of your property. Call today! (864) 300-4857